Last week we went on a staff retreat. Two days in a great location near the sea.

‘Retreat’ is an interesting word that has somehow become associated with these types of experiences. One of our team queried the use of the term as it’s often associated with defeat, resignation and giving up, however, in this context, it means to ‘pull back’ or ‘withdraw’.

Is it important to withdraw periodically (individually or as a team)?

You know as well as I do that the world we face into is often very challenging. I know everything is relative however, the demand & pressure of modern life seems, at times, to be unrelenting. Like a persistent river, it can erode our energy, motivation and make us query if it’s worth it. Many people seem simply to be hanging on until their next holiday and, often, when they get there, they end up sick because their body is so depleted it crashes.

So many teams and leaders we coach yearn for time. It’s a dominant theme. And it’s not time to ‘do more stuff’ rather, it’s time to reconnect with each other and with their sense of purpose. They need to know that, if they’re going to invest themselves in something, it’s going to be worth it.

In order to answer these questions, people need to retreat. They can’t have a deep inquiry when they’re distracted by more emails, KPIs and transactions. They need to decouple, change the scenery and honour the space required to talk and explore.

Our retreat was simply awesome. I don’t know if I’ve had a better time with the team. We sat up into the wee hours singing, playing cards, chuckling and being with each other. Someone even danced! We pushed hard during the day to find answers to some tough questions about our vision, purpose and practices and we’ve come away with a surging sense of renewal and commitment to the vast possibilities that are out there. It’s expanded my love for the people I work with and for the work we have the privilege of delivering.

And it’s simple. All we needed to do was find the time.

Johnny Parks